Republicans say cut tsunami warnings instead of oil subsidies!


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Buried deep inside the GOP House of Representatives plan to trim the 2011 budget is a line item that will take $454 million away from the agency running the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Yes, that’s the same Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, one of two operated by a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that alerted the nation to a potentially deadly wave headed toward Hawaii and the California coast following the devastating earthquake off northern Japan last week.

House Republicans, who have been looking for ways to shave $61.5 billion from the 2011 federal budget, stress that they don’t want to specifically cut either of the warning centers — a network of ocean buoys and deep-water sensors that alert scientists to changes in ground movement and tide levels and could indicate a tsunami is on the way. They just think the parent agency has some fat to trim. The Republicans are also going after federal funding for climate change research and other environmental projects in their proposed cuts…

“Everyone knows that the government needs to cut spending, but this tsunami serves as an tragic reminder that Representative Dan Lungren and House Republicans made the wrong budget choices that can have real consequences for California families,” said Jesse Ferguson of the DCCC. “Instead of cutting taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil companies, Representative Dan Lundgren voted to slash the weather service that gives us critical early warnings in times of danger, like this one…”

“Nowhere have we indicated that we’re directing NOAA not to emphasize the services it provides for the safety, health and welfare of Americans,” said Eric Cantor. “I’m told that this point was raised by some employees at NOAA, who made it known that they didn’t believe the cuts were needed. Again, we all have to do more with less here…”

How much less is Cantor making do with in his lifestyle? Total staff salary for his office since his first year in office has gone from $621,655 to $1,145,591 for 2010. An 84% increase in 9 years.

The mission of the National Weather Service is to save lives and save property. But the funding to do that has already been reduced. Cutting the funding even more is going to potentially lead to loss of life,” said Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization. “I’m not trying to shock people, it’s just the truth.”

Sobien points to a need to invest in early warning technology that, for instance, can help increase the notice of impending tornados or spend money to revamp an overwhelmed web site that provides early weather alerts or put more weather satellites in the sky.

Republicans and their teabagger flunkies would rather direct increased profits into the pockets of oil companies and investment banks.

Nothing new about the practice. Nothing new about their lies.

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